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My version of a Hugelkultur raised garden bed

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rattle
Established Contributor

My version of a Hugelkultur raised garden bed

G'day everyone.

1 Year ago, I had  left over Colorbond from when our house was built and decided to make a raised garden bed with that and scrap wood.

One problem I had with a very low budget project, was how the heck do I fill a large bed with that much soil on a low budget? 

I couldn't dig it from the yard as we are on an inland island and it's all sand here and I only had a little bit of compost from the previous house.

 

One night online, I discovered Hugelkultur, which if I understand correctly, is an old German method of building up raised beds with logs, branches and organic matter and growing your produce in the soil above that. Then, as time goes by, the wood and stuff underneath will eventually rot down and become nice organic matter for your garden bed.

 

I back onto a forest, so I used debris along my fence line, which ranged from very thick branches, down to twigs and leaves.

 

Apologies for the long read and here are some photos of what I did back then...

 

Made the raised bed and collected logs, branches, bark and leaves.Made the raised bed and collected logs, branches, bark and leaves.Big logs first, then layers of branches, leaves and bark.Big logs first, then layers of branches, leaves and bark.

I'd stand on it and make sure it was compacted as much as I could, then gave it a good soak.I'd stand on it and make sure it was compacted as much as I could, then gave it a good soak.

Horse poo is plentiful and cheap in the country, so I did a layer of 1 year aged poo.Horse poo is plentiful and cheap in the country, so I did a layer of 1 year aged poo.Big layer of soaked cardboard ripped into pieces and some more old horse poo.Big layer of soaked cardboard ripped into pieces and some more old horse poo.Layer of compost and old cow poo.Layer of compost and old cow poo.Layer of soil, bought in bags from Bunnings.Layer of soil, bought in bags from Bunnings.Final bed after external timber was stained, pea straw and strawberries planted.Final bed after external timber was stained, pea straw and strawberries planted.

 

It's almost 1 year later now , so next month I will remove the strawberries and broccoli I have in it now and will dig down to above the branches and give it one big turnover. That will be the first time all those upper layers have been mixed, so I'm keen to see what it all looks like after a year of watering, rain and having small crops growing on top.

 

 

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Community Manager Jason
Community Manager

Re: My version of a Hugelkultur raised garden bed

Congratulations @rattle, it looks brilliant. I'm sure that this project will prove very inspiring to other Workshop community members. And we are looking forward to seeing all your strawberries and broccoli that you harvest! 

 

Jason

 

 

 

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MitchellM
Valued Contributor

Re: My version of a Hugelkultur raised garden bed

@rattle Fantastic read thanks for sharing! Has the level dropped much from the bottom layers decomposing?

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rattle
Established Contributor

Re: My version of a Hugelkultur raised garden bed

G'day @MitchellM.

Not as much as I was expecting.

I'd say it has dropped a full ridge in the colourbond.

I really did jump hard on the bottom forest debris layer and gave it a good soak, so maybe it was compacted enough to hold its shape as I'd imagine that thick stuff will take a long time to rot and break down.

 

I made a second similar looking bed and instead of the Hugelkultur method I built  a base with drainage half way up on that one and filled with compost, Bunnings soil and old horse poo. That one has sunk a little more and does not seem to hold the moisture as well as the first one.

 

Thanks @Jason.

I'll have to be quick to get a picture of any ripe strawberries. That don't last long in this house.

As for the broccoli, no worries of photos there. The wife and kids shudder when I talk about eating it. :smile:

 

 

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Community Manager Jason
Community Manager

Re: My version of a Hugelkultur raised garden bed

Hah, nice one @rattle. We've got loads of strawberries in our garden at the moment. Not many make it into the house. They are so good to eat when freshly picked and still warm. 

 

Jason

 

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MitchellM
Valued Contributor

Re: My version of a Hugelkultur raised garden bed

@rattle Brilliant!! Tried feeding them oven roasted broccoli with a touch of garlic, salt, pepper and cheese on top? World's better than boiled, works great on Brussels sprouts as well.

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meljorge
Frequent Browser

Re: My version of a Hugelkultur raised garden bed

Looks great!

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Community Manager Jason
Community Manager

Re: My version of a Hugelkultur raised garden bed

Thanks for joining in the discussion @meljorge. I'm sure @rattle appreciates the positive feedback. Perhaps you'd like to build your own?

 

Feel free to post anytime you need a hand or have something to share. As you've hopefully already discovered, we have amazing members sharing helpful information, advice and inspiration for projects all over the house and garden. 

 

Please let me know if you ever need assistance getting the most from the site, or have feedback about how we could improve Workshop for you.

 

Welcome,

 

Jason

 

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Claudius
Budding Browser

Re: My version of a Hugelkultur raised garden bed

This looks amazing and super back friendly to garden there. Just throwing in an few Umlaut in from a German here as it's called Hügelbeet or Hügelkultur. "Hügel" being a small hill or mound. So enjoy hügeling. Can't wait to see how you are growing some great compost for further use there.

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Community Manager Jason
Community Manager

Re: My version of a Hugelkultur raised garden bed

Many thanks for joining in the discussion and giving us some German language lessons @Claudius. It's been many years since I did German at school so mine is certainly more than rusty! 

 

Looking forward to seeing what projects you have on the go at your place. Feel free to post anytime you have something to share or need a hand with a project around the house or garden.

 

Jason

 

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